In a time of economic stress, the Sugar Creek Board of Aldermen is looking at plans to bring in new jobs in the form of new business.

In a time of economic stress, the Sugar Creek Board of Aldermen is looking at plans to bring in new jobs in the form of new business.

And Alderman Stanley Sagehorn suggests that new business is already interested in coming to the city. Sagehorn said the discussions are still preliminary and could not release any names, but he did say the possible development could produce about 30 new jobs in the beginning.

For Sagehorn, this is the perfect time for Sugar Creek to consider the formation of an Enhanced Enterprise Zone. The EEZ is a state tax abatement program in which businesses locating in set areas could get a tax credit depending on the amount of new jobs and investment produced by a project.

“It’s here to better our city,” Sagehorn said. “Hopefully, it will create more jobs.”

Alderman Joe Kenney agreed with Sagehorn. He said in a bad economic time, any chance to entice new businesses is good for the city.

Kenney added Sugar Creek doesn’t have a lot of incentive opportunities at its disposal.

“People are looking for any incentive,” Kenney said.

The zone in Sugar Creek is bounded to the south by U.S. 24, the east by Forest Street, the north by Scarrit (between Sterling and Forest) and Norledge (between Sterling and Willow) and the west by Willow.

Businesses that build or expand in this zone will be eligible for tax credits on any new property value generated. The amount of abatement depends on how many jobs and how much investment is included in the project.

A business that meets the basic requirements would be eligible for a 50 percent abatement for 10 years. The amount increases depending on the number of jobs and the amount of investment

Grey Johnson with the Missouri Department of Economic Development used the example of a business whose property value is  $1 million. If that business owner’s property value is increased to $1.5 million because of the improvements, the owner would get a reprieve on taxes from $250,000 of that property value.

“Your tax roll is still increasing,” Johnson said.

One more step for I-435 interchange

The Sugar Creek Board of Aldermen took another important step for the future of the proposed Sterling interchange off Interstate 435.

The board approved a funding agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation to fund the preliminary design of the project.

City Administrator Ron Martinovich said the money comes from a 1991 grant obtained from the federal government.

“We’re trying to use it so we don’t lose it,” Martinovich said.

The city must provide 20 percent of the funds for the design. Martinovich said the city is in the process of selecting a design firm and will come back to the board with proposals at another meeting.

Kenney said the city has been working on this project for a number of years.

“It’s going to take a lot of pressure off Sterling,” Kenney said. “It’s finally moving forward.”